Thursday, September 5, 2013

Fasting (in ways you may not have thought about before)

You don't have to read long in the Bible before coming across the idea of fasting. It may not always be mentioned by name, but the idea of focusing on God by withholding food (and in some cases even drink) is not an uncommon topic in the Word of God. But did you know that there are other kinds of fasting? For example, the Apostle Paul speaks of married couples abstaining from sexual relations for a short time in order to devote themselves to prayer. (1 Cor. 7:5) Even in the Old Testament, married couples in Israel were commanded to "fast" from sexual relations in preparation for meeting with the Lord on Mt. Sinai.  (Exodus 19:15).

I have found in my own experience that other kinds of fasting (abstaining from something other than food) have had a powerful impact on my devotional life. Every so often I feel led of the Lord to set something aside for a time so I can focus my heart and mind more pointedly on the Lord. In fact, at the time of this writing I'm in the middle of a month-long fast from Facebook and online/television entertainment. That means no movies or shows this month and no social media. I'm only a few days into it but I'm already feeling the effects of detoxing from those time-sucking distractions. In the time I would otherwise spend unwinding in front of the TV or my laptop, I'm now reading, writing or just talking with my family. I already sense a greater clarity of thought and attention to prayer and the Word. It's really amazing!

Each of us needs to be aware of the things that most war against our spiritual progress and consider fasting from those things for a period of time. For me, online social networking and other forms of electronic entertainment can easily creep into my day to the point where they begin to drown out the voice of the Holy Spirit. When I begin to sense a spiritual numbness I know that nothing short of a time of fasting is going to fix the problem.

Setting aside this month to fast from those things that would normally take my time and passion from the Lord already has me excited and energized. Not only does it help me to make a statement about not being dominated by frivolous distractions, but I find myself actually looking forward to the rest of the month, and the renewed freedom to worship, pray, and study that comes as a result. This fasting stuff is way cool!

No comments:

Post a Comment